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Lt. Governor McKee: It's time for a full-court press on the state's small business grant program

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lt. Governor Dan McKee today sent a letter to Governor Gina Raimondo and Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor calling for immediate changes to the Restore RI small business grant program to ensure local businesses receive funds before the December 30, 2020 CARES Act deadline.

"It's time for the state to make a full-court press on getting Restore RI grant funds out the door and into the hands of small business owners," said Lt. Governor McKee. "The clock is running out. The state needs to expand and simplify the program and launch an intentional, meaningful outreach plan to ensure business owners are aware. We should not gamble with these federal funds and wait to see if Congress extends the deadline—small businesses need support now."

Despite changes made to improve the Restore RI grant program since it launched in July, over $30M in funding is still available to small businesses. In his letter, the Lt. Governor made the following recommendations:

- Allocate an additional $75M to the program by December 1, 2020. - Increase the maximum grant amount to $50,000 and the minimum to $5,000. - Intentionally notify all small businesses owners who received a grant that they may qualify for additional funds under the new program guidelines announced on October 20. - Allow small businesses from all industries to apply. Do not limit eligibility to only certain NAICS codes. For example, dental, optometry and other medical offices continue to be excluded. - Weigh overhead expenses just as much as employee count in the grant amount calculation. - Allow small businesses that opened during the pandemic (January 2020 - present) to be eligible for Restore RI or a separate CARES Act funded grant program.

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